Volleyball Claims Second Straight MIAC Playoff Championship, Advances To NCAA Tourney

Posted on November 5th, 2016 by

Taylor Trautman (3) and the Gusties celebrate in front of a packed house at Gus Young Court. (photo courtesy of AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

ST. PETER, Minn. – For the second straight season, the Gustavus volleyball team is bound for the national tournament after claiming the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoff Championship, defeating Bethel University in four sets. The Gusties won by set scores of 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, advancing to NCAA Championships for the seventh time in program history.

Taylor Trautman connects for a kill against Bethel. (AJ Dahm photo)

Taylor Trautman connects for a kill against Bethel. (AJ Dahm photo)

“It was one of those nights where we embraced our imperfections and really just grinded through it,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “Bethel is such a tough team offensively and defensively, they have so many threats and they really kept us on our toes on our serve receive. That is usually our foundation and we struggled there tonight. We were able to outlast some of those long rallies and came away with the win.”

It appeared both teams were going through some early-game jitters to begin the first set, but trailing 17-14, the Gusties were able to turn it on and rattled off six straight points to take the lead and never look back. The second set was close throughout with the score not extending past a four-point lead until the final kill. The Gusties used a 5-1 run midway through the set to take the advantage and hold on for the win.

Nora Holtan sets up the offense. (AJ Dahm photo)

Nora Holtan sets up the offense. (AJ Dahm photo)

Gustavus rolled its momentum into the third with a 5-1 lead, but the Royals answered with a 6-1 run to force a Gustie timeout. Bethel extended its lead to four points at 18-14 and was able to secure a four-point victory to stay alive. The Royals continued to put on the pressure in the fourth set, taking a 9-4 advantage and forcing a Gustavus timeout. Sherden’s squad responded well by going on a 15-9 run to take its first lead of the set at 19-18. The Royals tied the score once more and held off the Gusties’ set point three times, but a Lauren Hanson (So., Redwood Falls, Minn.) kill sealed the victory.

Hanson led the Gusties on the attack with 18 kills. Nora Holtan (So., Rochester, Minn.) registered 44 assists and Brittany Luethmers (So., Prior Lake, Minn.)  dug out 19 attacks. Hanna Albers (So., St. Louis, Mo.) contributed a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.

Gustavus now awaits its opponent and where it will play in the opening round of the national tournament. The NCAA will announce the national tournament field with a live selection show on NCAA.com Monday at 11:30 a.m.

2016 MIAC Playoff Champions. (AJ Dahm photo)

2016 MIAC Playoff Champions. (AJ Dahm photo)

 

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